very good advice

Tom Ascol has printed a letter from John Newton to a pastor about to issue a written refutation of doctrinal error. Mr. Newton encourages the recipient to consider at least three areas before he puts pen to paper.

CONSIDER YOUR OPPONENT
CONSIDER THE PUBLIC
CONSIDER YOURSELF

All of the advice under each of these points is very good. I particularly found this bit under the CONSIDER THE PUBLIC heading to be excellent.

Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature and the riches of free grace. Yea, I would add, the best of men are not wholly free from this leaven; and therefore are too apt to be pleased with such representations as hold up our adversaries to ridicule, and by consequence flatter our own superior judgments. Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge rather than to repress his wrong disposition; and therefore, generally speaking, they are productive of little good. They provoke those whom they should convince, and puff up those whom they should edify. I hope your performance will savor of a spirit of true humility, and be a means of promoting it in others.

take some time to go read the whole thing. Bookmark it for the next time you want to engage.

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